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  • Kevin Maguire

Recruiting in a Candidate's Market

As I sit here writing this blog I am looking at our company’s production (filled mandates) over the last year and it has been a good year. Actually, a very good year. We have seen a large number of candidates eager to accept a very competitive offer in a very competitive marketplace. Working with MMGI and our clients our candidates have conducted their research, determined that our career opportunity meets their criteria for change and they happily sign the offer that will lead the way to their next step in their career. We have also witnessed candidates evaluate strong career opportunities, receive excellent offers that exceeds their current compensation package, then make tracks to their line manager’s office to resign and receive a counter-offer. Never have we seen so many employers scrambling to keep their talented staff as we are seeing in this market today. In short, if you are involved with hiring and you are not prepared for this competitive reality, then you may not be attracting and securing the strongest candidates that this market has to offer.

 First things first: If you are involved in hiring, then building a talented team is a top priority. As a matter of fact, when I receive calls from industry contacts who I’ve known for years at Director, VP level or above asking me to alert them to new opportunities, almost always I hear, “ I’ve built my team and now its time for me to move on to my next challenge”. So, attracting talent is mission critical and if you live this space like I do, it is becoming clear that there is strong competition for talented employees and the old methods of securing talent may not be gaining the same traction.

 Posting job descriptions on your company website, linkedin or another site and waiting for talent to flock to you just doesn’t cut it in this market. Yes, you will get responses, but you will not be gaining access to top talent. If you have a mission critical role, then you need the following:

A communication plan that includes: What is new and exciting at your company requiring growth (this role and beyond);What are the challenges and opportunities facing this role;What are the potential opportunities attainable from this role?

2. A method of attracting talent

A website or external site: a post of your JD is fine (we don’t do either since we only want the talent we have chosen to access our opportunities);Alerting internal staff to the role and communication plan, mining the contacts of your staff can be a very effective way to identify top talent;Dedicating a recruiter to the mandate. If so, ensure they:

* Understand the role and what are the attributes, experience and success stories that top talent has to offer in this role;

* Have the required industry contacts and network to mine;

* Proactively seek-out, qualify and attract talent based on the needs, challenges and opportunities associated with the role and your company.

 3. If the candidate has been well qualified, then you know what their salary is and what they are looking for in a step-up. If it is in-line with industry standards, then offer what they want or better yet, offer a little more.

 4. Cement the Hire: Prior to start date, meet with the candidate (phone or Skype if f2f is not possible) and communicate your excitement about their decision to join your team. Once again, share with them the challenges and opportunities they will face in their new role. As well, share with them the future potential of the company, department and team that your new hire has access to now that they have joined your company.

 This last step is often missed and here is why it shouldn’t be overlooked. A few weeks ago we were working with a client on a Senior Clinical Research role and we identified a candidate who liked their employer, but their role had recently changed and they were no longer satisfied in it. Once we had an understanding of the candidate’s criteria for change, we matched their needs with our opportunity. The candidate loved the new opportunity and every aspect of the candidate’s criteria for change was met and they happily accepted an offer that exceeded expectations. It was a done deal until someone in the candidates network of colleagues learned that the candidates was leaving the role they thought she loved! A quick call then ensued describing a role heading up a team working with former colleagues and our very talented candidate who was under the radar was recruited away. Had we cemented the hire, well, we may not have lost such a talented candidate.

 Attracting the best talent away from your competition has never been as competitive as it is today. And successfully hiring top talent from your competitors can be a game changer. But, be aware, it is currently a candidate’s market and you must be prepared to approach the market strategically. With a pro-active approach and strong execution you can achieve your goal of attracting the best talent the market has to offer and lead the way to meet your goals and objectives in this competitive marketplace.

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